Publication Date

April 2016


Jill Morawski, Elise Springer


Psychology, College of Letters


English (United States)


This study considers the implications of using the Western medicalized diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to respond to survivors of sexual violence, specifically in postcolonial societies. To do so, this work considers first the medical validity of the diagnostic approach itself, then the sociological implications of using the disorder within a society, and lastly the perception of such aid from a postcolonial perspective. Through this analysis, larger concerns about the prioritization of medical knowledge within society, the roles of power perpetuated through the use of psychological classifications and medical treatment, and the narrow understanding and responses to sexual violence via the use of the PTSD diagnosis in international aid work will be problematized.

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